vvvexation: (Default)
So...I finally came all the way out to my dad today. I'd been expecting for a while now that this would happen in the near future--hadn't been expecting it today specifically, but I'm glad to have finally done it. And thank goodness, it was a lot less awkward than it could've been and he warmed to the idea faster than I'd expected. He always does manage to pleasantly surprise me.

To clarify: at least since adulthood, I've been keeping him fairly well apprised of the general outlines of my love life, so he's known for quite a while that I've generally been dating more than one person at a time. At first, though, he was under the impression that I was more or less "playing the field" and would settle down once I got "serious" with someone. I didn't quite have the nerve to disabuse him of that notion all at once, but I tried to think how to work up to it, and over the last year or so I've been managing to hint that I wasn't really ever planning for a monogamous future. Today, though, he finally asked me a direct question, which freed me to give him the direct answer I'd only recently found the courage to deliver.

Interestingly, he worked around to it through the subject of bisexuality--whether because he thought the two were related or just because it was a convenient lead-in I don't know (and I probably should find out at some point), but what he asked was "so, if you do find someone to settle down with [as that subject does seem to keep recurring between us, though for unrelated reasons], will you still be seeing women, or will you settle down with a woman and keep seeing men, or both, or neither, or what exactly?" So I said "well, both" and he said "so you're basically talking about an open marriage, then" and I said "yeah, pretty much" and he said "well, I've got no moral objection to that, but I'm not so sure it would actually work." Which was a little daunting, but not too far from what I'd expected, really. His morals have always been quite liberal, but he does have a history of being overprotective and I'd figured such qualms as he had would all be born of fear for my mental well-being. Hell, I think I'd been a little afraid that he'd imagine, as a therapist once did, that I was being inducted into some kind of cult.

So I tried as best I could to explain that yes, I've seen it work and it's working fine for me so far and yadda yadda, but I worried I wouldn't get very far with anecdotal evidence. My vague hand-waving assertions that there are tons of folks all over the place doing this and no, it's actually not just a "San Francisco thing" seemed to go over a little better, but interestingly, I think what finally convinced him was my manner of speaking, more than anything I actually said. I don't recall what else I told him exactly, but he finally said "You know, you sound happier and more sure of yourself than I've ever heard you. Not so long ago you sounded kind of directionless, and now you don't. I get the impression you've finally figured yourself out a bit." My immediate inclination was to debate that statement, as there's still so much about my life I haven't got figured out yet--but it's undeniable that I have in fact figured out a lot about how I want my love life to go, and I do feel good about that, even if the details are going to require some more hashing out. And based on that, it seems my dad was convinced that I really do know how I'm going to make this poly thing work. He even seemed positively glad about it by the time we were done talking, and that was definitely more than I'd expected. I am so grateful to have a parent who loves me so unselfishly. When you get right down to it, he really does just want me to be happy, and he really does believe I have the tools to accomplish that for myself. His confidence in me is one of my best sources of inspiration.

We hit some other fairly serious topics, too; it was one of the longer conversations we've had. I came away from it feeling better about a lot of things--most importantly, he reassured me that I've been calling him for advice less often because I genuinely need his advice less often, not because I'm trying to train myself not to need his presence in my life because I'm afraid at any moment I might lose it. Now that I think about it, I think those things might actually both be true, but the first one makes the second one much more bearable anyway. I think I'm starting to learn how to not be too attached to things and still not totally detach from them either--like, how to stop needing something while still wanting it, and enjoying wanting it, and enjoying the thing itself when I have it.

Oh, and he shared this piece of slight mind-bendiness: While his car was in the shop, they gave him a free rental car from Enterprise. The license plate frame said: "My other car is an Enterprise Rent-a-Car." Neither of us could decide if this was a paradox or not, but it was amusing as hell to think about.
vvvexation: (Default)
Wow, a nice meaty [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

["Parents" in my case refers to my dad, my only living bio-parent for most of my life and the only living parental figure I will honor with the term.]

1. How often do you speak to your parent(s)? Why or why not?
My dad emails every few weeks, and every couple of months I call him and we chat for a while. A fairly good way of describing our relationship is that we're good friends who like to keep in touch--except that unlike with my other friends who are at a distance, I actually manage to maintain the correspondence. The fact that he usually initiates the emails helps, as does the fact that he's one of my main sources of advice (though not quite as much lately. Actually, I've noticed that these days I seem to be trying not to rely on him so much, I suspect because I fear losing him and so am trying to prepare myself for it by acting as if I've already lost him. This worries me, as I don't think it's healthy and it's certainly unkind to myself to preemptively deprive myself of his presence in my life.) Another thing that helps is knowing that I could spend a year on the moon or something and then call him again without him guilt-tripping me about how long it had been, and without the lapse in time having made things awkward between us. There are very few people of whom I can say that.

2. How often do you visit to your parent(s)? Why or why not?
Thanks to my dad's long-ago remarriage and the repercussions of same, I haven't been able to visit in almost four years, which is also how long it's been since he's had a chance to make the drive up here. I fucking miss him. Phone and email just ain't the same.

3. What's the most valuable thing you learned from your parents?
Hard to say, as I think I'm still learning it. Probably the most useful thing he's given me so far is the knowledge that everyone goes through most of the things I'm going through and I'm not a fuckup no matter how often I think I am. I've not had many other people in my life who were in a position to apprise me of that sort of thing, but also, when someone that much older than me who knows me that well tells me these things, I really believe them.

4. What's the most harmful thing you learned from your parents?
How to sacrifice your and your child's emotional welfare to a psychotic abuser? As if I needed the lesson. Honestly, I've never in my life been able to conceive of doing that myself, and it baffles me that anyone so intelligent could.

5. If you could change one thing about your relationship with your parents, what would it be? Why?
I'd want him to fucking ditch the bitch and move a few hundred miles closer. Hell, just one out of two would be a vast improvement.
vvvexation: (Default)
...because gods know it's easier than coming up with anything original to say.

An example: My dad and I were just discussing movies over email, but he interjected this into his latest reply:

My computer-guarder thingy, Norton, says, "Remember to check for updates frequently."

1) I remember frequently that I should check for updates, but I never do check for updates.

2) I remember now and then that I should frequently check for updates, but I check rarely or never.

Wouldn't it be better to check for updates frequently and forget about remembering to? And wouldn't it be better for Norton to say, "Check for updates frequently"? That way they'd be staying out of my mind and I'd be getting proper instructions.

This is just the kind of thing that I would post here more often, if only the impulse didn't flee before I had the chance to and if only I didn't anticipate loud sighs and head-patting in response. Maybe I need to stop caring about that.
vvvexation: (Default)
I just asked my dad the following question over email:
Is there a name for the phenomenon whereby a pale imitation of some
experience is better known than the experience itself, and becomes
almost more of a prototype than the prototype is? But without people
forgetting that it is just an imitation, so that when they for once in
their lives have the prototypical experience, they think "wow, this
feels like [prototype X]" just as they always do when they're having
the derivative experience, and forget for a moment that this time it
actually is the prototype they're experiencing?

He evidently isn't quite sure what I mean and wants a specific example. However, I'm not sure I want to share with him the example I was thinking of.

Anybody have any parent-safe examples of this kind of thing?
vvvexation: (Default)
I asked my dad if I could call him sometime soon and have him read me some numbers off his tax return that I need to fill out financial aid forms. (I figured I should email before I called because he wasn't likely to have the information immediately to hand.) This was his reply:

"You can call me, but give me lots of notice. My desire to gather together tax forms and read them to people is thoroughly under control, perhaps even too much so. Like the Buddhists, I lost concern for this worldly thing, but I went beyond them and got to the point where the idea of doing it annoys me.

"I don't know if you ever read George Orwell's 'Confessions of a Book Reviewer.' In it, he says the book reviewer knows there's a check for two pounds somewhere in the litter on his desk, but 'the idea of looking for it, or of looking for anything, afflicts him with acute suicidal impulses.'

"Once again the Buddhist ideal, lack of concern for things of this world, has been pushed past the zero point into the realm of hyper-rejection.

"This may be the West's greatest religious achievement. I like to think so. Or at least I like to think so more than I like gathering tax returns."

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September 2012

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